Monday, February 27, 2006

The Wall Street Journal, a Paper You Can Trust

I was thumbing through the current Atlantic (March 2006) recently, when I found this very angry letter to the editor from one Bob Bronson:
"I picked up the December issue at the airport because the article Why Iraq Has No Army by James Fallows caught my eye. Before I got to it, however, I read the Wall Street Journal editorial that mentioned the article and asserted that Mr. Fallows had not only never visited Iraq but had never interviewed anybody in either the U.S. or the Iraqi governments prior to writing it. After reading that, I decided not to invest the time in reading the article. If I want unknowledgeable anti-American propaganda, I can watch the network news.
What's this? An act of dishonesty at my favorite magazine? Well, no. Replied Fallows on the very same page:
About the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page: the allegation that Bob Bronson mentions was and is preposterous. The Journal’s editorial cited an unnamed source in the Multinational Security Training Command in Iraq—the organization responsible for training Iraqi troops—and claimed that I “didn’t even contact them while reporting the article or at anytime during at least the past nine months.” That is flatly untrue. I interviewed many members of that organization (among other civilian and military officials I spoke with), including its then commander, Lieutenant General Dave Petraeus, and his deputy. The Journal’s editorial writers would have known this claim was false had they checked with me or this magazine before publishing, which they did not do. Indeed, they would have known this if they had even looked at my article before criticizing it, since it contained lengthy quotes from Petraeus and an explanation of which interview requests the Pentagon press office had approved and denied. Mr. Bronson would have known all this if he had seen the next day’s issue of The Journal, which published a retraction of the false claim.
I wonder how many other people missed Fallow's article due to the Journal's baseless slander (and I wonder how I missed this story from last December? ) Anyway, it's all just a day at the office for the Wall Street Journal which, unlike the Times, won't even employ a columnist from the other side of the aisle. There's no equivlent of Brooks or Teirny over at the Journal, you see.